“Business with Rothschild’s, eh?” mused Allerdyke.
“Well, I daresay there’s a vast lot of folk in this city who do business across there. Um!—smart little woman that, and no doubt as clever as she’s smart. I’d like to know—”
Just then the ancient hall-porter of the club (who surely missed his vocation in life, and should have been a bishop, or at least a dean) ushered in Appleyard, whom Allerdyke immediately beckoned to join him amongst the window-curtains.
“I say!” he whispered, with a side glance at The Times-reading old gentleman, “you remember me telling you yesterday about the lady-secretary of Fullaway’s—Mrs. Marlow?—what a smart bit she looked to be. Eh?”
“Well?” replied Appleyard. “Of course, what about her?”
“She’s just gone into Rothschild’s across there,” answered Allerdyke. “Come here, this corner; she’ll be coming out before long, no doubt, and then you’ll see her. As I told you about her, I want you to take a look at her—she’s worth seeing for more reasons than one.”
Appleyard allowed himself to be drawn into the embrasure. He waited patiently and in silence—presently Allerdyke dug a finger into his ribs.
“She’s coming!” he whispered. “Now!”
Appleyard looked half-carelessly across the street—the next instant he was devoutly thanking his stars that since boyhood he had sedulously trained himself to control his countenance. He made no sign, gave no indication of previous acquaintance, as he watched Mrs. Marlow’s svelt figure trip out of New Court and away up St. Swithin’s Lane; his face was as calm and unemotional, his eyes as steady as ever when he turned to his employer.
“Pretty woman,” he said. “Looks a sharp ’un, too, Mr. Allerdyke. Well,” he went on, turning away into the room as if Mrs. Marlow no longer interested him. “I got those two reports for you—shall I tell you about them now?”
“Aye, for sure,” replied Allerdyke. “Come into this corner—we’ll have a glass of sherry—it’s early for lunch yet. Those reports, eh? About Fullaway and Delkin, you mean?”
“Just so,” said Appleyard, settling himself in the corner of a lounge and lighting the cigarette which Allerdyke offered him. “They’re ordinary business reports, you know, got through the usual channels. Fullaway’s all right, so far as the various commercial agencies know—nothing ever been heard against him, anyhow. The account of himself and his business which he gave to you is quite correct. To sum up—he’s a sound man—quite straight—on the business surface, which is, of course, all we can get at. As for Delkin, that’s a straight story, too—anyway, there’s a Chicago millionaire of that name been in town some weeks—he’s stopping at the Hotel Cecil—has a palatial suite there—and his daughter’s about to marry Lord Hexwater. All correct there, Mr. Allerdyke, too—I mean as regards all that Fullaway told you.”